English Premier League Weekend Preview

On Saturday the top of the league is once again in doubt, while Birmingham play Wigan in a relegation six-pointer at the other end of the table. Scottie Parker takes on Harry Redknapp's Tottenham (by his lonesome) is what's looking like a fair fight, while a hoard of Michael Jackson fans invades Goodison Park in the evening game. Sunday sees two teams on the fringes of European qualification duke it out at the Stadium of Light, while Manchester City travel to Chelsea in a game so important that it's going to be ludicrously boring.


Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (12:45 PM GMT)
European high-fliers Tottenham face a lowly but resurgent West Ham United. One the one hand, you have the pace of Gareth Bale, the class of Luka Modric, home field advantage and the whatever it is Jermaine Defoe does of Jermaine Defoe. On the other hand you have the avatar of all things good and manly in Scott Parker and his galactic-hero-calibre hair. All bets? Off.
Pick: 1-1 Draw.

Aston Villa vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (3:00PM GMT)
Aston Villa are a team that has one fit centre back and they're playing against Mick McCarthy's Wolves, who last I checked were entirely built of centre backs. Since Gerard Houllier is suspiciously French, he'll probably do some sort of weird continental formation, and if there's any justice in the universe will be punished for it.
Pick: 3-1 Wolverhampton.

Blackburn vs. Blackpool (3:00 PM GMT)
If you're anything like me you have trouble telling these two sides apart in your head. Helpful hint: Blackpool are the ones with the ball and Blackburn look like they eat babies.
Pick: 3-3 Draw.

Manchester United vs. Bolton Wanderers (3:00 PM GMT)
Sir Alex Ferguson has just divulged that his side is suffering a major injury crisis in defence ahead of the match against Bolton, which if his previous form is anything to go on means that the United centre back pairing will be a dragon with swords and a dragon with lasers.
Pick: 3-0 United.

Stoke City vs. Newcastle United (3:00 PM GMT)
I keep trying to write a blurb for this match involving someone other than Rory Delap, but my mind is so focused on the flexing sinews of his arm as he launches the ball forward that I just can't do it. Rory!
Pick: 2-1 Stoke.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal (3:00 PM GMT)
Here's the deal with Arsenal. If United drop points to Bolton, Arsenal will also drop points to West Brom. If United win, Arsenal cruise to victory. This, of course, despite the fact that both matches are being played concurrently, meaning that there's at least ten papers on quantum entanglement to be written here.
Pick: 4-1 Arsenal.

Wigan Athletic vs. Birmingham City (3:00 PM GMT)
It's a must win for Wigan and Roberto Martinez, and if their luck holds they'll still lose to a terrible last minute goal after being denied eight penalties in one match. Poor Wigan.
Pick: 1-0 Birmingham.

Everton vs. Fulham (5:15 PM GMT)
It could be a real Thriller at Goodison Park although Fulham are Bad away from home. I'm sure Bilyajeanetdinov and crew will just want to tell their guests to Beat It, but with Bobby Zamora back in action Fulham might actually be able to score goals - my advice to Everton's forwards is Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough goals.
Pick: 2-1 Everton


Sunderland vs. Liverpool (1:30 PM GMT)
Andy Carroll will doubtless be warmly welcomed in his return to the northeast as Liverpool field a team more or less indistinguishable from the one he left, at least if their performance against Braga is anything to go by. Good news though - there won't be any beach balls.
Pick: 1-0 Sunderland.

Chelsea vs. Manchester City (4:00 PM GMT)
Unfortunately, Roberto Mancini is dropping Mario Balotelli for this critical clash against born-again Chelsea, which means we won't be able to see him trying to put on a bib for half an hour and failing, which would be much more entertaining than the actual match will be.
Pick: 2-0 Chelsea.

Exclusively by Graham MacAree
Remarks: These predictions are for fun and there is no guarantee on the outcome

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